The Issue of Discrimination In Chiropractic: How to avoid expensive legal issues when making your next hire.

Hiring and staffing in your chiropractic practice is a critical part of practice growth. Most chiropractors never consider the issue of discrimination when hiring. In this article, we’ll tackle the Issue of Discrimination In Chiropractic: How to avoid expensive legal issues when making your next hire.

A Blind Spot in Chiropractic Hiring Process

Chiropractic is about as unique a profession as any. We operate inside a niche that straddles both the healthcare and wellness industries. The idea of staying “congruent” with the culture we create in our offices can quickly get you into some seriously hot water when hiring if you are not careful.

Just teaching our team of over a dozen recruiting specialists at Chiro Match Makers about the 100 plus different Chiropractic techniques and what makes each different from the other quickly gives you an appreciation for how quirky and specific things are inside our profession. 

This all contributes to a highly varied profession with various tribes of people. It becomes even more complex when you start to think about all of the different practices- from those focused on wellness care, pain relief, personal injury, and sports rehab. These practices have different cultures and approach their marketing and messaging in different ways. This extends to who we choose to hire in our practices. Often we desire that our team members are a direct reflection of the health habits and attitudes we hope to inspire in our community.

So, it’s not hard to understand why this issue of discrimination while hiring team members can arise quickly inside of Chiropractic practice. This unique variety of cultural differences inside our industry has created a powder keg of subtle discrimination. From our experience, many chiropractors are either blind to or uneducated about the legalities and parameters for hiring, regardless of the niche of people you tend to serve.

This desire to hire “like-minded” people is the very definition of discrimination. Managers and owners can quickly degrade into hiring based on their “cultural” niches that are, in fact, illegal to screen applicants against. We frequently hear things like, “I have an attractive staff that exemplifies the wellness lifestyle that we promote, so please only send us young and attractive candidates.” This is blatant discrimination and ageism as well.

Another example is based on the faith of the office owners. “We are a Christian office, so please only send us Christian candidates.” Again, hiring based on religion is illegal, and you cannot do it.

Sexism is also a common request. “We are a pediatric and pregnancy-focused practice, so we only want to interview women chiropractors.” Even if your entire staff and office environment are based around serving females, you simply cannot screen applicants based on their gender. This, too, is discriminatory and called sexism.

“We cater to the LGBTQ community and therefore will require only candidates that identify with our lifestyle choices.” Again, hiring based on any sexual orientation discriminates against those outside the desired category of people, which is simply not legal. We have even seen discrimination against hiring heterosexual candidates.

According to the U.S. federal government, “discrimination is not allowed when hiring. The pain and penalties, if caught, are genuine. Job discrimination is handled by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The penalties differ from one kind of discrimination to another, but in general, the maximum civil penalties range from $50,000 for smaller firms to $300,000 for companies with 500 employees or more.

Under the laws enforced by EEOC, it is illegal to discriminate against someone (applicant or employee) because of that person’s race, color, religion, sex (including gender identity, sexual orientation, and pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. It is also illegal to retaliate against a person because they complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit.”

Chiropractic Job Advertisements Done Right

Often the issues begin with the job advertisement. You must also be aware that it is illegal for an employer to publish a job advertisement that shows a preference for or discourages someone from applying for a job because of their race, color, religion, sex (including gender identity, sexual orientation, and pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information.

For example, a help-wanted ad seeking “females” or “recent college graduates” may discourage men and people over 40 from applying and violating the law.

A great and compliant job advertisement includes the job requirements and the benefits offered and is designed to entice your ideal applicants to apply by highlighting the position. In short, the job advertisement should be geared towards the available opportunity, not the applicant. Showcasing the type of practice, your techniques, location, salary, and benefits can act as a compliant pre-screening tool for your candidates. Anytime you find your job advertisement focuses more on the candidate than the available position, it’s a good idea to revise your copy. 

At Chiro Match Makers, we’ve created hundreds of compliant and compelling job descriptions and advertisements for practices worldwide that help them find their ideal new team members.

Chiropractic Recruitment Best Practices

It is also illegal for an employer to recruit new employees in a way that discriminates against them because of their race, color, religion, sex (including gender identity, sexual orientation, and pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information.

Your recruitment process will typically begin with an initial phone interview. That interview is an excellent opportunity to learn more about the candidate and see how they can add their unique experience and expertise to your practice. Asking questions about topics linked to race, religion, and gender is not only not advisable, but it is also illegal. 

At Chiro Match Makers, we’ve developed a proven system of recruitment that involves an initial interview, compliant behavioral screening tools, and a world-class team of full-time recruiters that help doctors find the best candidates for their available D.C. Associate and C.A. positions. 

A Word of Wisdom When Hiring

Although this may begin to feel limiting for you as an owner, I want to share a different perspective. 

Different people with different ages, backgrounds, faiths, and ethnicities bring different life experiences and strengths. We consistently see the top-performing, and highest gross revenue practices that we work with, are teams comprised of very diverse groups of people. 

Variety is, in fact, the spice of life and, may I suggest, a secret weapon when it comes to you growing the practice of your dreams.

Chiro Match Makers has the process of hiring DC’s and CA’s down to a science. Here are 4 ways we can help you today!

1. Download our coveted DC Interview Guide before your next interview
This is the most critical hire you will ever make in your practice. Most of us have only learned how to interview from our own past experiences and our gut. Our template provides you with unique questions and a systematic way to help ensure you find the right person for the job you have available. Download a copy here.

2. Download CA Hiring Success Roadmap
Building your A+ team is the difference between having the ability to scale or not.  If done right, it can be a path to freedom and increased profit. If done wrong, it can be one of the most-costly mistakes you ever make. Go here to get your copy of the CA Hiring Success Roadmap.

3. Explore the best way to leverage a Locum in your practice.
Grab a copy of our Benefits to Hiring a Locum Guide that will be the best time you’ve spent in buying back your time freedom.

4. Connect with us!
If you’d like to connect with us for a brainstorming session just click here to access our schedule link and find a time that’s best for you. We’d love to learn more about your practice and help you reach your goals!

discrimination in chiropractic